Tall Ships Challenge® Atlantic Coast 2007
The 2007 TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Race Series visited the Atlantic Coast ports of Charleston, South Carolina; Norfolk, Virginia; Newport, Rhode Island and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Participating vessels came from India, Indonesia, the Netherlands, England, Germany, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay, France, Canada and the US. The ships were gorgeous, the crews were enthusiastic and the public showed their support by the thousands.
The first port of call was the charming and historic city of Charleston, SC. The ships were introduced to true southern hospitality as the organizers and volunteers showed the visiting crews why the state motto is “Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places”. Charleston was also the start of the first race of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Race Series, easily won by the Indian Naval ship, Tarangini.
A fleet of over 25 international vessels then arrived in the naval port of Norfolk, VA. The Parade of Sail into port was an awesome experience, both for those on board the ships and the lucky spectators. The weather was perfect and the ships were in all their glory.
The fleet then cruised-in-company up the East Coast to Newport, RI, the homeport of the American Sail Training Association. Throughout the day, we could look out our windows and see masts sail by, at which point the office would empty as we headed down to the docks to greet the newest arrival. Newport is a sailor’s city and the crews were welcomed with open arms.
The second race of the series started after the Parade of Sail out of Newport. It was quite the upset with the British vessel Prince William beating the US vessel Pride of Baltimore II by a mere ten seconds and the German naval vessel Gorch Fock II by 45 seconds. The third and final race took place several days later from Portsmouth, NH to Halifax, NS. The ships had mustered, the starting line was set up and the cameras poised, but there was no wind. With five minutes to the gun, the sun broke through the clouds and a gust of wind picked up enough for everyone to sail across the start line, with the Dutch naval vessel Urania winning line honors. Despite some harrowing weather in the midst of the race, Spirit of Bermuda won with Urania coming in a close second.
The final port of the race series was Halifax, Port of the Year in 2004. The fleet sailed into port through fog as thick as pea soup, but by the time the festival started the damp weather had burned off and the days were warm and sunny. The public flocked to the ships and they were not disappointed. The final awards ceremony took place in Halifax as well, with Urania announced as the overall winner of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Race Series, winning the VECTRIX trophy.